3 weeks later:
John remembered the exact second Katherine Reimer first walked into Baker Street.
He remembered the sound of the kettle clicking off just as the tapping reverberated from the door of he and Sherlock's room. Opening the door, he was struck by the specimen that he saw. Blood-red hair, beaming eyes, mile-long legs. Oh, yes. John Watson made a point to memorize the moment, right up until she ruined it.
"Sherlock Holmes?" She probed.
John sighed. Why was it that every woman who came to his door was either looking for Sherlock or working for Mycroft? He led Katherine through the doorway, and just as he was about to close the door behind her, he felt resistance. He looked again, and saw an older woman standing in the doorway, out of breath. Her sharp eyes pressed into John with urgency, so he figured she must be with Katherine.
The two women followed him into the living room, where they were surprised to find the sofa turned upside down, and Sherlock lying, in his dressing gown, across the underbelly of it, his violin poised precariously on it's bow, which he was holding.
"Err..." For a long second, that was all John said, until, "Sherlock?"
Sherlock's violin dipped threateningly to one side, but Sherlock accommodated the bow to hold it up.
After a long second, there was still no answer. Not an uncommon occurrence with Sherlock Holmes.
"Sherlock, what are you doing?"
"Lestrade's work..." came the deep, monotone reply.
John looked around at the two women apologetically, then turned back to his flatmate.
"And he asked you to...?"
The answer came before John's question could hang in the air. "
"He asked me to figure out how Banksy got a Rolls Royce on top of Nelson's Column. I figured it out two hours ago, but my morphine wore off and I got bored."
Realization crossed Sherlock's face like a wave against a rock, before the tide pulled it back again. For the first time, he looked at his guests, but before they could speak, he forgot them and turned back to his balancing act. There was a long, awkward second before he spoke again.
"Am I being rude?"
"Yes, actually, you are." John rushed through gritted teeth.
Damn him, John thought. Sherlock had herded him right into that question, rather than ask the women himself and appear stupid. Subsequently, John now looked like a complete ass. Thankfully, the sharp-eyed brunette came to his rescue. Her voice was impatient, her tone fierce.
"Sherlock Holmes, my name is Claire Jackman." She stood forward, almost scolding Sherlock.
Sherlock looked at her. Hell, he was almost ashamed. John would never admit it, but he had to wrestle the smile off his face before the omniscient Consulting Detective could see. Sherlock was silent for a moment, then his sheepish nature ebbed slightly.
"And we need your help." Katherine piped up, stepping to Claire's side. Sherlock's gaze darted between the two of them, analysing.
"Would you like a cup of tea? Kettle's just boiled." Sherlock asked, standing up and fixing the sofa.
John was startled. He honestly may have dropped dead then and there.
"Uhm, sure?" Katherine responded, warily.
"Mrs Jackman?" Sherlock sang, with the sweetest of smiles.
"N-no. None for me, thanks."
"Okay.", Sherlock's smile suddenly dropped, and he resumed his scowling default. "Two teas, please, John."
John's fists clenched. There was a time when he could just twist someone's nerves for talking to him like that. Although, he was usually fixing a wound at the time. He turned and went into the kitchen.
"Anyway," Claire began, unfazed by Sherlock's bi-polar tendencies, "I need your help, Mr Holmes."
"You do, she doesn't." Sherlock gestured to Katherine with his bow. "Why is she even here?"
"I just said," Claire glared, "We need your help."
"You said 'I'. Besides, you don't even like this woman."
"If you liked her, you'd have came at the same time."
"You're going to want to stop lying to me right about now." Sherlock sliced her rebuttal down with expert, practiced precision "You have been down in the café for the better part of an hour waiting for her."
Claire remained wisely silent, and both Katherine, and John, in the kitchen, stared on in awe. Sherlock looked between them, and then gave a deep groan.
"Oh, come on. It's obvious!" There was a moment of silence before Sherlock's ego-trip began. "Whenever Miss Whatsername,"
"Katherine." Katherine countered. Sherlock shot her a nasty glare, then recomposed himself, readying for a marathon of exposition.
"Katherine, spoke up, Mrs Jackman clenched her fists. She appeared angry upon entering the flat, and avoided looking at Katherine at all costs, this is further proven by the fact that when faced with a man in his pyjamas balancing a violin on an upside down sofa, any normal person would look at their entourage, Mrs Jackman didn't. She almost did, but then she corrected herself.
Obvious, there are crumbs in the trim of Mrs Jackman's shirt, where those ghastly scones from Mr. Chatterjee's 'Risk Bin'; that's where he keeps the stale ones, have crumbled into sand. Lastly, of course, there's the tea."
"The...tea?" Claire said, shellshocked.
"Yes, pretty basic, you refused tea because you'd already had a cup at Speedy's." With that, Sherlock fell blissfully back into his chair, happy with his monologue's anticlimactic end. John fought his urge to express his dismay at so trivial a pay-off, but Claire spoke first.
"That's...amazing." She breathed.
"That's my job. Now, what happened last week that was so horrible?"
Again, shocked faces all around. Sherlock continued regardless.
"You've been holding a newspaper in your hands since you got here. It's last weeks Express. You're subconsciously holding it forward, so obviously you want to tell me something about it."
For the first time, Claire drew attention to the newspaper, which was wrinkled and beaten. She opened it up, and flicked through a few pages, before arriving at a page which bore the headline:
MP DANIEL CAREW MERCILESSLY BEATEN: Prominent MP in critical condition after violent assault.
"I..." Katherine began, but was halted by a quizzical look from Sherlock. "We think it may have something to do with the Edinburgh Spider-Man stories that've been popping up recently."
"Spider- Man?" John asked, his mind instantly recalling the Tale of the Blind Banker.
"We've dealt with Spider-Men before," Sherlock explained, "Has your husband recently had any contact with the Chinese, Mrs Jackman?"
Claire looked confused. She hadn't mentioned a husband.
"There's a wedding ring on your finger, it's smudged where you've been toying with it, the smudges are recent, so it was clearly done while you were at Speedy's, reading the article." Sherlock gave his explanation bluntly, eager to gather more data rather than simply impress Claire Jackman.
Claire's expression changed to apprehensive. "I don't know, I haven't seen Tom in six months. No-one has. We think he may be in Edinburgh, but we weren't sure if we should tell someone until now."
"You think your husband did this?"
"N-not exactly..." Katherine answered on Claire's behalf. Sherlock looked back and forth between the two of them again, until it became apparent his pressing gaze was in vain.
"Right, I can see I'm not getting any more out of you two. I'll take the case." Sherlock snatched the newspaper out of Claire's hand and gestured the two women out the door with it. "I'll keep this."
John led the two women out of the flat, and, just before Katherine left, he cast his question randomly into the air, as he usually did with women.
"So, you and me, any chance you wanna...go for coffee, or...?"
Katherine turned and gave him a slight smirk. It looked good on her.
"I don't date clients, I suggest you follow my good example."
She left, then, closing the door behind her. John's let his head fall onto the painted wood, bereft and sighing. After a moment of recuperation, he turned back into the living room. Sherlock was already spread-eagle on the sofa, deep in thought.
"You don't think it's the Black Lotus, do you?"
"I don't know yet..." Sherlock groaned, his eyes closed.
"Who was the victim? Carew? Jackman? Both? What's the motive, even? Antiques again? "
"There are 167 possible reasons for murder, John, I wrote a blog about it, it's on the website."
Sherlock gestured lazily towards John's laptop with the newspaper. John moved to intercept Sherlock's arm, and snatched the newspaper from it.
"Have you read the article yet?"
"I don't care..."
John looked up from the article to Sherlock, shocked.
"You don't care? Then why'd you take the case?"
At this point, Sherlock's eyes flickered open and he sat bolt upright, his sapphire dressing gown poured across the sofa, giving him the appearance of Lazarus, back from the dead.
"Did you notice, John, how neither Claire nor Katherine spoke much about the husband?"
"Uhh, yeah. She only said his name...Tom." John answered, puzzled.
"That's the case, John. Find a man in a city of 440,000 with nothing but a name, a comatose MP, and a Spider-Man to go on. I want to know why Claire Jackman is afraid of her husband, John. I want to know who he is and what he's capable of..."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: So, this story will go Jekyll chapter/Sherlock chapter/ Jekyll chapter etc. for a while. This chapter is set 3 weeks before the first, but the next chapter (a Jekyll one) will be set a week before this one (so that's 2 weeks after the first chapter. Get it? Good.) Anyway, R&R, because reviews are what keeps me writing.